Archive for March, 2014

Easter Holiday Bread Class

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Every holiday comes with specialty baked goods unique to that holiday. Last night our class made Greek Easter Bread, Hot Cross Buns, and Easter Egg Nests.

Dough rising in proof box.

Forming the loaves and buns.

Storm alert! Time out to check the weather forecast.

Breads, cooling on the rack.

Whew, storm is passing far enough away!!

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Everyone leaves class with breads to share with friends and family.

Holiday Sweet Dough
Yield: 2 pounds dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 tsps mixed spices (cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc), optional
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
¾ cup water
2 eggs
¼ cup oil
colored eggs, optional

Icing
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup (approx) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon extract

1. Add ingredients to your breadmachine in the order listed on your appliance; use dough cycle.
2. When done, turn dough onto lightly floured surface and scale into 2 ounce pieces for hot cross buns, 1 pound for Greek Easter Bread, 6 ounces for egg nest. Shape dough according to preferred bread. Proof until doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a medium golden brown. Cool before icing.
5. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with the confectioners’ sugar, water, and extract. Adjust until the icing is stiff enough to hold its shape

Home-Based Baking at its Best! Whenever possible, in making new or holiday products,  tweak your own recipes.

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May I Bake/Sell Products Using Cookbook Recipes?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

I often get copyright questions from business owners about the legality of using recipes found in cookbooks, magazines, websites, or any source.

The short answer: You may use any recipe for your product line, there are no copyright restrictions.

For business owners interested in making products for sale, there are no worries. You might be thinking about copyright infringement, but that only relates to copying and reproducing the written work of another person.

What you’re not allowed to do with sales: pretend that your product is from another company. For instance, you make cinnamon buns and name them Cinnabon Rolls. It’s a deceptive practice to name your product using another company’s business name or product name. This would confuse customers and take business from that company.

Your product line recipes, whichever ones you use, are your livelihood. So if you chose a well-known recipe, such as the Nestle Toll House cookie, and customers rave about your incredible treats, just smile and say thank you. Let them keep buying your cookies instead of making it themselves.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Best Ever...

Home-Based Baking at its Best! For product sales, anyone may use any recipe found anywhere. No restrictions. (Unless, of course, you steal a recipe from a locked safe, in which case you would be arrested for theft, not copyright infringement.)

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Starting a Home-Based Food Business?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

I periodically re-post this topic for new readers:

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Across the U.S. more than forty states currently have a cottage food law that allows for legal operation of producing and selling food from your home kitchen.

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But there’s way more to this venture than simply creating a Facebook page. And certainly more than just having fun in the kitchen.

If you want to run a legal, profitable business, I have a few suggestions:

1) Start baking or cooking and keep notes on everything you do. Look for uncomplicated, easy to make, great tasting recipes. Think about ease of production – you don’t want anything too fussy when you’re starting out. Think about shelf life – you want something to last at least a few days. And it’s best to avoid expensive ingredients when you’re new to the business side of food.

2) You’ll need a business name and a name for each of your products. Begin making lists.

3) Set up a bookkeeping system. Running a legal business includes keeping track of income and expenses and declaring your income to the IRS.

4) Learn to price your products. There’s no point in just pricing based on what you think customers will pay, or what the supermarket charges. It’s important to know how much each product costs you so that you’re not subsidizing a business with your personal money.

5) Write a business plan. If you want this venture to be profitable, it will help you understand the underlying issues involved in running a business.

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Yes, I know it can seem overwhelming. For more help, read Start and Run a Home-Based Food Business . Read it through, but don’t let any of the business aspects scare you. When you’re ready, contact your local health agency, your state’s department of agriculture and markets, or use the links provided with my book. States and provinces have different licensing procedures, so be sure to follow the guidelines in your area.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! Important tip: Before you start a business, get used to the reality of daily food production. You may love baking cookies and brownies, but it’s different when you have customers and orders to fill.

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Hot Cross Buns!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

When Hot Cross Buns appear, we know spring is approaching.

Hot Cross Buns can be made from most bread doughs. If you already have a favorite recipe and prefer to use one that is familiar, simply make minor modifications. Add a little extra sweetener (sugar or honey) and fat (oil or butter), and a handful of dried fruits. Richer doughs need a longer proof time so let it rise until it’s almost double.

My recipe, below, is made in a breadmachine, but it can also be made in a stand mixer or kneaded by hand. It makes just under two pounds of dough to yield 1 ½ dozen buns, but it can be scaled up to whatever quantity you need.

Hot Cross Buns
Yield: 18 (2 ounce) buns
¾ cup water
2 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar
½ cup butter, very soft
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon mixed spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc)
1 cup mixed currants, cranberries, apricots or raisins, optional

Icing
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup (approx) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon extract

1. Add ingredients to your breadmachine in the order listed; use dough cycle.
2. When done, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and scale into 2 ounce pieces.
3. Round dough into balls and place on large baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone sheet. Or place close together in (2) 9 inch square pans or a 9×13 pan.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Proof until doubled in size.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 -30 minutes, until deep golden brown. Cool before icing.
6. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with confectioners’ sugar, water, and extract. Adjust until icing is stiff enough to hold its shape.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! If you’re making these for sale try baking in paperware or foil pans with domed lids that won’t disturb the soft icing. If your business centers around meals (boxed lunches, meal delivery service, etc.) consider adding a complimentary hot cross bun with their order. It’s a way to reinforce that their business is important to you.

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